21/05/2009

New Innovative Arts Space in Aberystwyth

The eight strange metallic huts that have been puzzling visitors to Aberystwyth Art Centre for the past few months were officially opened today as artists studios by National Assembly Arts Minister Alun Ffred Jones.

During the presentation designer Thomas Heatherwick describe how he developed the crinkled stainless steel that covers the buildings. After a lot of searching for the right material his team finally came across a company in Finland that makes thinner stainless steel sheets than anyone else in the world. He then made a roller that the sheets could be passed through to scrunch them into the striking covering. I have to say, although they're certainly innovative, they're not the prettiest buildings I've ever seen but, on the inside, they provide an excellent studio with plenty of natural light.

Judging by the kind of artists occupying them they're a success already. Mary Lloyd Jones, Catrin Webster and Becky Knight are all there. Catrin Finch opened the Culture Colony/Y Wladfa Newydd studio which will provide an online forum for other innovative arts projects in Wales.

It should be said that the felling of quite a number of a bank of mature trees to make way for the buildings has dismayed many. The Art Centre argue that many more replacements have been planted which, in the very long-term, will contribute to the atmosphere of the place.

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